Administration Officials Deny Steering Patients Toward Private Medicare Plans, But Emails Tell A Different Story
“Get more benefits for your money,” says one message sent to Medicare beneficiaries. “See if you can save money with Medicare Advantage,” says another. While private plans boast of providing superior-quality care, the evidence is mixed. And experts are worried that the material being sent out by the government doesn't present the negatives of the plans. Other Medicare news focuses on nursing homes and enrollment.
The New York Times:
Trump Administration Peppers Inboxes With Plugs For Private Medicare Plans
Older Americans have been flocking to Medicare’s private plans, which promise predictable costs and extra benefits. But the private Medicare Advantage plans have also been getting an unpublicized boost from the Trump administration, which has in the last few weeks extolled the virtues of the private plans in emails sent to millions of beneficiaries. (Pear, 12/1)
Kaiser Health News:
Medicare Cuts Payments To Nursing Homes Whose Patients Keep Ending Up In Hospital
The federal government has taken a new step to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions of nursing home patients by lowering a year’s worth of payments to nearly 11,000 nursing homes. It gave bonuses to nearly 4,000 others. These financial incentives, determined by each home’s readmission rates, significantly expand Medicare’s effort to pay medical providers based on the quality of care instead of just the number or condition of their patients. Until now, Medicare limited these kinds of incentives mostly to hospitals, which have gotten used to facing financial repercussions if too many of their patients are readmitted, suffer infections or other injuries, or die. (Rau, 11/3)
Kaiser Health News:
Feds Order More Weekend Inspections Of Nursing Homes To Catch Understaffing
The federal government announced plans Friday to crack down on nursing homes with abnormally low weekend staffing by requiring more surprise inspections be done on Saturdays and Sundays. The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said it will identify nursing homes for which payroll records indicate low weekend staffing or that they operate without a registered nurse. Medicare will instruct state inspectors to focus on those potential violations during visits. (Rau, 11/30)
Enrolling In Medicare Can Be Confusing. Here’s How To Do It.
With roughly 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day, according to the Pew Research Center, the Medicare enrollment odyssey has become a generational rite of passage. Some welcome it as a godsend, enabling them to retire or pursue new ventures without fretting about health insurance. Others dread confronting the program’s myriad complexities. (Weisman, 12/3)